Big Ten expansion: Bring on the Cardinals

  • 07/30/2007 12:57 pm in

card-head-clr.jpgBrian at MGoBlog has a great breakdown of all of the prospective teams the Big Ten may look to add in the next couple of years, which ranges from the very awesome and yet unlikely (Texas) to the far more probable (Rutgers, Syracuse). Brian’s look takes into account the importance of academic continuity between the added school and the conference as it currently stands, and he comes up with a final list. His ultimate preference? Texas. Next best? Notre Dame. Pretty straightforward there. Also probably not going to happen, which he readily admits.

Barring those teams entering the conference, though, I think adding Rutgers or Syracuse would be a mistake. Not only does Rutgers football have all the territorial markings of “flash-in-the-pan,” Rutgers basketball has never been good, and they don’t really bring secondary or Olympic sports to the table, either. Syracuse’s basketball program is tempting, but their football program is bad enough to warrant serious caution. Not to mention aesthetics: do we really need another horrible blue-and-orange clad team in this conference?

No, I think the ultimate solution lies just south of IU, in Louisville. The Cardinals have big-money programs set up in both football and basketball, they’d let the conference spread its recruiting wings even further south, and it would add the Cardinal-crazy haven of Louisville, which just so happens to be of the 20 biggest cities in the country, believe it or not. (I know: I didn’t believe it either. It’s true.) With the exception of the Kentucky Derby, a once-a-year fixation, and a AAA baseball team, the Cardinals are Louisville’s professional sports teams. Plenty of money and attention — and a nice big market for that new network — lies just down I-65, if the Big Ten is willing to make the trip through Southern Indiana.

Sound too perfect to be true? It might be: the one problem Brian cites is academics. Louisville’s medical research wing is up-and-coming, and, according to Wikipedia, the median ACT score for enrollment is up from 20.2 in 1995 to just around 24; not bad, but certainly nothing to write home about.

So I open it up to you, noted ITH readers: are Louisville’s academics poor enough to warrant their exclusion from the Big Ten? Are the academics even bad? If so, does the market and the geography outweigh those concerns? Who do you prefer for expansion? What did you get on your ACT? Thoughts in the comments.

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  • IUJimmy

    Won’t happen. All Big Ten schools are members of the Association of American Universities. Also, US News ranks every Big Ten school in the top 70 nationally (first tier), while UofL is a third-tier school. Good athletics, bad academics.

  • IUJimmy

    Won’t happen. All Big Ten schools are members of the Association of American Universities. Also, US News ranks every Big Ten school in the top 70 nationally (first tier), while UofL is a third-tier school. Good athletics, bad academics.

  • Big A

    Sounds good to me in theory, but I agree with Jimmy, their academics just won’t cut it.

    They’re known academically for their Speed school, which is engineering from what I understand. Besides that, most of their undergrad programs are below average and their campus leaves something to be desired.

  • Big A

    Sounds good to me in theory, but I agree with Jimmy, their academics just won’t cut it.

    They’re known academically for their Speed school, which is engineering from what I understand. Besides that, most of their undergrad programs are below average and their campus leaves something to be desired.

  • Big A

    Sounds good to me in theory, but I agree with Jimmy, their academics just won’t cut it.

    They’re known academically for their Speed school, which is engineering from what I understand. Besides that, most of their undergrad programs are below average and their campus leaves something to be desired.

  • Big A

    Sounds good to me in theory, but I agree with Jimmy, their academics just won’t cut it.

    They’re known academically for their Speed school, which is engineering from what I understand. Besides that, most of their undergrad programs are below average and their campus leaves something to be desired.

  • when i first read the possibility of adding a team to the big 10, my immediate response was “you’ve got to be kidding me!” look, i see the value in adding a big football school, and the draw of having 2 divisions and therefore a conference championship game on the big 10 network. but thats it. i am against adding a team just to help the big 10 network. i think before we move to help it, it needs to show it has value. right now, thinks look grim. it would ruin the schedule for basketball (we just expanded the schedule, adding a team would make that move irrelevant), and other than notre dame, i just don’t see a viable school that would add what we want without lowering academic standards. UofL is out of the question for me. honestly, so is texas, pitt, syracuse, rutgers, and all schools to the east. we need to keep a midwest feel to the conference. and any school that would work in the midwest (UofL, UK, Missouri, Memphis, UT) either would never leave their current conference, or is too poor academically. i miss the days of having 10 teams in the big 10. we can’t kick anyone out, so i’m for keeping it at 11 until notre dame wants to join. which is probably never. thats just my opinion.

  • when i first read the possibility of adding a team to the big 10, my immediate response was “you’ve got to be kidding me!” look, i see the value in adding a big football school, and the draw of having 2 divisions and therefore a conference championship game on the big 10 network. but thats it. i am against adding a team just to help the big 10 network. i think before we move to help it, it needs to show it has value. right now, thinks look grim. it would ruin the schedule for basketball (we just expanded the schedule, adding a team would make that move irrelevant), and other than notre dame, i just don’t see a viable school that would add what we want without lowering academic standards. UofL is out of the question for me. honestly, so is texas, pitt, syracuse, rutgers, and all schools to the east. we need to keep a midwest feel to the conference. and any school that would work in the midwest (UofL, UK, Missouri, Memphis, UT) either would never leave their current conference, or is too poor academically. i miss the days of having 10 teams in the big 10. we can’t kick anyone out, so i’m for keeping it at 11 until notre dame wants to join. which is probably never. thats just my opinion.

  • when i first read the possibility of adding a team to the big 10, my immediate response was “you’ve got to be kidding me!” look, i see the value in adding a big football school, and the draw of having 2 divisions and therefore a conference championship game on the big 10 network. but thats it. i am against adding a team just to help the big 10 network. i think before we move to help it, it needs to show it has value. right now, thinks look grim. it would ruin the schedule for basketball (we just expanded the schedule, adding a team would make that move irrelevant), and other than notre dame, i just don’t see a viable school that would add what we want without lowering academic standards. UofL is out of the question for me. honestly, so is texas, pitt, syracuse, rutgers, and all schools to the east. we need to keep a midwest feel to the conference. and any school that would work in the midwest (UofL, UK, Missouri, Memphis, UT) either would never leave their current conference, or is too poor academically. i miss the days of having 10 teams in the big 10. we can’t kick anyone out, so i’m for keeping it at 11 until notre dame wants to join. which is probably never. thats just my opinion.

  • Zach

    I agree with the consensus. I’m not for adding an inferior academic school just to get the conference a couple more dollars for having a championship game.

    I’m not that keen on adding a 12th team to the conference, period. However, when it happens (because it definitely will), I hope it’s a school like Virginia or Notre Dame.

  • Zach

    I agree with the consensus. I’m not for adding an inferior academic school just to get the conference a couple more dollars for having a championship game.

    I’m not that keen on adding a 12th team to the conference, period. However, when it happens (because it definitely will), I hope it’s a school like Virginia or Notre Dame.

  • Zach

    I agree with the consensus. I’m not for adding an inferior academic school just to get the conference a couple more dollars for having a championship game.

    I’m not that keen on adding a 12th team to the conference, period. However, when it happens (because it definitely will), I hope it’s a school like Virginia or Notre Dame.

  • I agree with IUJimmy. Yeah, Louisville has kick-ass facilities and good, capable teams. But their academics is just NOT what the Big Ten values. Louisville and Kentucky are strong teams but they just don’t have the academics to back it up. Maybe a
    UConn or a Notre Dame would be nice (but obviously won’t happen). I’m leaning toward Mizzou…but I still think the whole idea of having an extra school is unncessary at the moment.

  • I agree with IUJimmy. Yeah, Louisville has kick-ass facilities and good, capable teams. But their academics is just NOT what the Big Ten values. Louisville and Kentucky are strong teams but they just don’t have the academics to back it up. Maybe a
    UConn or a Notre Dame would be nice (but obviously won’t happen). I’m leaning toward Mizzou…but I still think the whole idea of having an extra school is unncessary at the moment.

  • Bootsie White

    Fish ain’t bitin.

    Check out the Big Ten pedigree.

    large state universities. Louisville is an urban commuter school. (I know Northwestern is an exception, but the Wildcats have primo academics and sit in the middle of the chicago market, closest to league headquarters.)

    Think Rutgers.

    Think Missouri.

    Think West Virginia.

    Or tell Big Ten football schools to STOP playing Notre Dame — unless they join the league.

    Add ND to the Big Ten and now you’re saying something.

  • Bootsie White

    Fish ain’t bitin.

    Check out the Big Ten pedigree.

    large state universities. Louisville is an urban commuter school. (I know Northwestern is an exception, but the Wildcats have primo academics and sit in the middle of the chicago market, closest to league headquarters.)

    Think Rutgers.

    Think Missouri.

    Think West Virginia.

    Or tell Big Ten football schools to STOP playing Notre Dame — unless they join the league.

    Add ND to the Big Ten and now you’re saying something.

  • Baron

    I think Vandy could be tempted and wooed out of the SEC – and it’s a perfect fit!

    Great academics on par with Northwestern, and I think the athletics would improve if they weren’t in the SEC. Their football team usually looks pretty good but gets beat up having to play Florida, Georgia, Tennesee, et al every year.

    Plus, the SEC is in need of a shakeup. Arkansas isn’t working out, and they may try to nab another school or two in the next few years.

    It would be perfect timing.

    Great school. Good sports. Big city. New market for Big Ten in Nashville and Tennessee.

    Sign ’em up in three, two, one…

  • Baron

    I think Vandy could be tempted and wooed out of the SEC – and it’s a perfect fit!

    Great academics on par with Northwestern, and I think the athletics would improve if they weren’t in the SEC. Their football team usually looks pretty good but gets beat up having to play Florida, Georgia, Tennesee, et al every year.

    Plus, the SEC is in need of a shakeup. Arkansas isn’t working out, and they may try to nab another school or two in the next few years.

    It would be perfect timing.

    Great school. Good sports. Big city. New market for Big Ten in Nashville and Tennessee.

    Sign ’em up in three, two, one…

  • I don’t buy the academic argument against Louisville. Not one bit. According to here,
    IU’s average ACT score is 26.3. That’s only two points higher than Louisville.
    Now, its’s only one barometer, sure. And there are a lot of factors that go into the academics of a school. But still, it’s not like IU is known as some stately academic institution. I mean, the research facilities are solid and there are some great individual schools (Kelley School of Business) but it’s really not too hard to get in there, especially in-state.
    Although, IU is raising academic standards — as far as difficulty getting in — sometime in the near future here.
    But until then, let’s not label Louisville as some terrible academic institution — one so bad they don’t deserve to be in the Big Ten. That’s being a little near-sighted.

  • I don’t buy the academic argument against Louisville. Not one bit. According to here,
    IU’s average ACT score is 26.3. That’s only two points higher than Louisville.

    Now, its’s only one barometer, sure. And there are a lot of factors that go into the academics of a school. But still, it’s not like IU is known as some stately academic institution. I mean, the research facilities are solid and there are some great individual schools (Kelley School of Business) but it’s really not too hard to get in there, especially in-state.

    Although, IU is raising academic standards — as far as difficulty getting in — sometime in the near future here.

    But until then, let’s not label Louisville as some terrible academic institution — one so bad they don’t deserve to be in the Big Ten. That’s being a little near-sighted.

  • BC

    PostmanR –

    I disagree with your analysis of IU as “some stately academic institution.”

    IU’s business, medical, and law schools are all top notch schools, each easily considered “top tier” among their peers.

    Louisville doesn’t have ANY top tier programs.

  • BC

    PostmanR –

    I disagree with your analysis of IU as “some stately academic institution.”

    IU’s business, medical, and law schools are all top notch schools, each easily considered “top tier” among their peers.

    Louisville doesn’t have ANY top tier programs.

  • IUJimmy

    Seriously, every Big Ten school is better academically than UofL. I’m not saying UofL doesn’t have some good programs (the Speed School), but overall, Louisville isn’t a good fit. Also, like BC said, IU is a quality school. IU has the #1 music school in the US and several highly ranked programs.

  • IUJimmy

    Seriously, every Big Ten school is better academically than UofL. I’m not saying UofL doesn’t have some good programs (the Speed School), but overall, Louisville isn’t a good fit. Also, like BC said, IU is a quality school. IU has the #1 music school in the US and several highly ranked programs.

  • PostmanR

    Good point on the music school, totally forgot that. I don’t know, I guess the point I’m trying to emphasize here is that the Big Ten isn’t the Ivy League.

    And plus, I really want Louisville. There, I said it.

  • PostmanR

    Good point on the music school, totally forgot that. I don’t know, I guess the point I’m trying to emphasize here is that the Big Ten isn’t the Ivy League.

    And plus, I really want Louisville. There, I said it.

  • MI_Transplant

    I’ve been saying since I moved to Louisville 6 years ago, that ND would never join and UofL would be a great fit. What better way to fill Papa Johns after the expansion. You will have so many schools within travel distance, it just makes sense geographically. Bring on Mich, Ohio St, Penn St. and so on into Papa Johns. I’m all for it..

  • MI_Transplant

    I’ve been saying since I moved to Louisville 6 years ago, that ND would never join and UofL would be a great fit. What better way to fill Papa Johns after the expansion. You will have so many schools within travel distance, it just makes sense geographically. Bring on Mich, Ohio St, Penn St. and so on into Papa Johns. I’m all for it..

  • Zach
  • Zach
  • Zach
  • Rutgers_alum

    Before I say anything realize i’m not just saying this just because i’m a grad from Rutgers. Lets think about this for one second. The Big 10 is launching it’s own TV station in less than one month. Since they are doing this they need ratings and sponsers. This past season’s highest rated regular season football game was the Rutgers vs. Louisville game and sorry Louisville fans it wasn’t because of your fan basis. Actually it wasn’t because of the Rutgers fan basis either. It was due to the fact there was so much media attention and hype of this game in the tri-state(NJ,NY,CT) and New York City Area. I mean the university convinced the Empire State Building in NYC to use Scarlet Red for the building color that night. With all of this happening in the area people just tuned in to watch the action. That’s exactly what the Big-10 is going to want IF they decide to go with another team. Rutgers is a high end research school excelling in Pharmacy, Engineering, and Business. Just some food for thought, I’m thinking this new channel is going to play a big role in deciding.

    PS …Rutgers football is not being taken lightly, many new top recruits have joined and season tickets pricing has gone up 100% since this past season. It’s the biggest price jump in college football’s season tickets pricing history in one year’s time.

  • Rutgers_alum

    Before I say anything realize i’m not just saying this just because i’m a grad from Rutgers. Lets think about this for one second. The Big 10 is launching it’s own TV station in less than one month. Since they are doing this they need ratings and sponsers. This past season’s highest rated regular season football game was the Rutgers vs. Louisville game and sorry Louisville fans it wasn’t because of your fan basis. Actually it wasn’t because of the Rutgers fan basis either. It was due to the fact there was so much media attention and hype of this game in the tri-state(NJ,NY,CT) and New York City Area. I mean the university convinced the Empire State Building in NYC to use Scarlet Red for the building color that night. With all of this happening in the area people just tuned in to watch the action. That’s exactly what the Big-10 is going to want IF they decide to go with another team. Rutgers is a high end research school excelling in Pharmacy, Engineering, and Business. Just some food for thought, I’m thinking this new channel is going to play a big role in deciding.

    PS …Rutgers football is not being taken lightly, many new top recruits have joined and season tickets pricing has gone up 100% since this past season. It’s the biggest price jump in college football’s season tickets pricing history in one year’s time.

  • Interesting post. I have made a twitter post about this. Others no doubt will like it like I did.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    5 years later they still don’t know what conference they want to be in….